Adidas and Dustin Johnson part ways ahead of 2023 LIV Golf season
The 2-time major winner had been sponsored by Adidas for 15 years
Dustin Johnson is no longer sponsored by Adidas.
The two-time major champion has been with the apparel company for his entire career. But Adidas confirmed in a statement Tuesday that Johnson was no longer with the company ahead of the LIV Golf season opener.
"We've mutually agreed to part ways with long-time Adidas athlete, Dustin Johnson," Adidas Golf president Jeff Lienhart told ESPN in a statement. "For more than 15 years, Dustin has been a great ambassador for the Adidas brand. We've had a front-row seat to see him win multiple major championships, ascend to the No. 1 ranking and cement himself as one of the best golfers in history — all while wearing the 3-Stripes. We wish Dustin nothing but success moving forward."
Johnson was one of the first and biggest PGA Tour stars to move to the Saudi-funded and operated rival golf tour during the 2022 season as the country promised massive sums of money for golfers to make the switch. Johnson, 38, won the 2016 U.S. Open and the 2020 Masters Tournament and had at least one win in 14 consecutive PGA Tour seasons from 2008-2021. He was the top-performing LIV golfer in 2022.
Per ESPN, a source near Johnson cited the space on his shirt as a reason for the separation between the golfer and Adidas. The golfer is a team captain in LIV’s team format and reportedly wanted to put the team’s logo on his shirt while LIV has a plan to sell shirt sponsorships for its golfers.
It also reasons that Adidas realized that Johnson wasn’t as marketable as he has been. LIV Golf struggled to draw audiences in its first year and didn’t have a television deal. Its events are set to be televised on the CW this year. While Johnson and other LIV golfers are still allowed to play in the four major tournaments, far fewer people are seeing the logos on his clothing outside of those four weeks a year.
Johnson isn’t the only longtime Adidas golfer to not have a deal with the company in 2023. The company has been a longtime sponsor of Masters champion Sergio Garcia and did not renew its deal with Garcia. Like Johnson, Garcia was one of the first golfers to leave the PGA Tour for LIV Golf and Garcia’s exit came with significant animosity toward the PGA Tour.
LIV Golf is set to have 14 events in 2023. Its three-round events contain individual and team contests.